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Friday, September 25, 2020

Pension links

Posted by Lou on May 5, 2016

Brothers and Sisters,

There have been a bunch of links to articles about pensions be sent around among our membership lately, so it makes sense to post them here.

It looks like one of the nation’s largest pension funds could be cutting benefits for retirees. The part of this article that really hit home with me was:

For many workers, the promise of a [pension] — a benefit now nearly extinct for younger generations — was at times strong enough to convince them to sacrifice pay raises or other job opportunities.

Locally, Ted Siedle takes the Governor to task regarding investment returns from her former employer’s hedge fund, Point Judith Capital in a recent article on And posts a brief article talking about how the pension fund lost money by investing with Point Judith Capital, while the Governor continues to earn her share of management fees paid to the fund.

How does this make you feel? What should union members be doing to combat these issues? Let us know in the comments below.


Friedrich v. CTA

Posted by Lou on September 21, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

If you haven’t heard about the the largest attack on public sector unions, now is the time to educate yourself. Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers’ Association is being heard by the Supreme Court, and outcome will directly affect the future of unions as we know it. That is not hyperbole, but honest fact. Council 94 sent out the following message recently:

Dear Member,

Wealthy/Corporate special interest groups are determined to destroy labor unions. The United States Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could threaten your contract and union. Please click here to read a great summary of Friedrichs v. CTA.

To prepare for the upcoming fight-

1. Sign up for the AFSCME Strong program by talking to your local union president, steward, or executive board member.
2. Follow Council 94 on twitter @ric94AFSCME
3. Receive text alerts on important issues. Text RI to 237263.

I will keep you up to date as developments occur.

Thanks for your continued activism and support.

In solidarity,
J. Michael Downey

Please take a second to read the article. We will be bringing more information to the membership in the near future.

Local 2881 Executive Board

Interesting articles related to pension funds

Posted by Lou on June 28, 2015

There have been some interesting articles regarding pension funds over the last few weeks. Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below! Or better yet, share some of your favorite articles with your union brothers and sisters!

International Business Times: For Rhode Island Taxpayers, Alternative Investments Have High Cost

Wall Street Journal: Rhode Island’s $2 Billion in ‘Preventable Losses’ in Alternative Assets

New York Times: When Private Investment Firms Give Retirees the Short End

Go Local Prov: INVESTIGATION: Investment Firms Not Sharing Vendor Discounts with RI Pension Fund

Don’t forget to read the investigation into our pension fund performed by Benchmark Financial Services and submit a complaint to the SEC requesting an investigation into potential violations.

Ever wonder why the pension system is underfunded?

Posted by Lou on March 26, 2015

I know I wonder why the pension system is underfunded. Sometimes, it’s because the fees being paid to the Governor’s former investment firm is being paid the highest fees of any other hedge fund manager in the state. Sometimes it’s because the Governor doesn’t want to deposit the surplus that she is legally required to. “Legally?” you say? Yes, it was a law she endorsed as treasurer, in an effort to increase the funding ratio as soon as possible.

I know one reason why it isn’t underfunded: state workers have paid their required percentage from every paycheck they have ever earned. Make sure you let your state representatives and senators know that fact when they try to steal from us again.

Pension calculator

Posted by Lou on March 23, 2015

Brothers and sisters,

In the midst of the maelstrom that is our pension saga, Paul and I finally got a chance to do something that we should have done long ago. We can now answer the question: “How long will my contributions to the pension system last me in retirement, even if the state didn’t contribute a dime to me?” The answer might surprise you (hint: it’s longer than you think).

Go to Local 2881 pension calculator, download a copy of the file, and play around with the inputs to match your scenario. The model allows you to input assumptions for:

  • Yearly raises (i.e. raises associated with contracts)
  • Starting salary
  • Years of service
  • Whether or not you get longevity increases
  • COLA percentages
  • Whether the COLA applies to your whole pension benefit, or a portion of it
  • Return on investment over the life of your money

The accrual schedule follows Schedule B (the 2005 pension changes). If you are not on Schedule B, or have accrued at another rate, you can input your own accrual in Column I of the “SalaryAccrual” sheet.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment below.


Links for thought

Posted by Lou on March 18, 2015

Who is the real villain in the pension crisis?

Public sector workers earn less (benefits included).

Debunking the myth of the overcompensated public sector employee (PDF of full report)

I’d love to see a revised version of that last report that accounts for all the pension changes across the country…

Briefs from Economic Policy Institute

Posted by Lou on December 2, 2014

Hello brothers and sisters,

I think I previously circulated these documents, but Gary Jablonski recently recirculated them with the note below. Please take a second to read the following documents from the Economic Policy Institute and educate yourself so that we are ready to fight the attack on our pensions.

I know to some people, the facts just get in the way, however sometimes it is necessary to review the actual facts once in a while. This is an earlier article that needs to be resurfaced. Especially since the pension fight is going to start moving forward in the court system very soon. It is not only State Employees at risk of losing, it is also the RI Tax payer that loses! Even if you just read the conclusions and principle findings. 23-40% cuts to your benefits is a good reason to fight this lawsuit, don’t ya think! Please forward.

Truth in Numbers? A Brief History of Cuts to the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s New Hybrid Pension Plan


Ted Siedle’s report

Posted by Lou on October 22, 2013

You’ll remember that Ted Siedle was hired by Council 94 to perform a forensic investigation of the state employees’ retirement fund. The report shares some interesting and maddening findings, which can be found here:

Local media coverage of this story is found on the Providence Journal website and

And you can listen to Mr. Siedle discuss his findings with Buddy Cianci on 630 WPRO.

Please read and listen to all of this, educate yourself, and get motivated to get active in fighting this injustice.